Suffering and Persecution and Other Electives
March 13, 2020
Let’s Talk Lebanon
February 14, 2020

Forum for Current Affairs: Reconciliation within the Church

March 10, 2020

On the 2nd of March 2020, the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES) at ABTS kicked off its reformatted Forum for Current Affairs! The Forum is the third of IMES’s peacebuilding initiatives that aim to bring about “positive transformation in thinking and practice between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East and beyond”. The program has now shifted its emphasis from tackling several themes a year to focusing on only one. This year, the focus is on reconciliation within the church. There are many Western strategies for conflict resolution out there, but they are often general and do not take into consideration the complexity of the concepts of shame and honor in the Arab World. The aim for this year’s forums is to come up with Biblical means of reconciliation that take into consideration Middle Eastern cultures and contexts, starting with the Lebanese Church. “We want to work towards bringing effective change to conflict resolution strategies within Lebanese Evangelical churches” says Bassem Melki, our Dean of Students and the project lead for the Forums.

The session on March 2nd marks the first of several meetings that will be held between March and May for a collaborative team of 12 church leaders. The members of the collaborative team represent several active denominations within the Lebanese Church and will be part of a journey towards more effective and redemptive reconciliation strategies for servants and leaders ministering in the Middle East.

By collecting and analyzing real-world data, and then looking at the data through a Biblical/theological lens, we hope to come up with Biblical/contextual theories for practicing reconciliation within a church environment that can then be tested within Lebanese churches. We hope that through this effort we continue to glorify the Lord through our relationships and reflect the reconciliation Christ made between God and Humanity through the relationships between our churches.

We are highly appreciative of the collaborative team for their efforts in bringing about positive change within the Arab Church. We hope we can grow together, come up with new strategies together, and employ these strategies for the benefit of servants and ministers in the Middle East and beyond.